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Cablegate: Typhoon Milenyo Update: Embassy Closed a Second Day

VZCZCXRO4331
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #4144 2720659
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 290659Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3188
INFO RUEHZS/ASEAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS MANILA 004144

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FOR S/ES-O
STATE PASS USAID, PEACE CORPS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC EINV CACS EAGR AGMT ABLD SENV RP
SUBJECT: TYPHOON MILENYO UPDATE: EMBASSY CLOSED A SECOND DAY

REF: MANILA 04129

1. Summary. The embassy closed on September 28 and 29 due to the
strongest typhoon to hit Metro Manila directly in 11 years. The
storm toppled trees and billboards, triggered flash floods and
landslides, shut offices and the financial markets, and caused a
Luzon-wide power outage on Thursday. Embassy personnel were
instructed to stay home; only an emergency staff came in for the
clean up efforts. Reports on damage to the most vulnerable areas
and populations in the National Capital Region and affected
provinces are still forthcoming. All U.S. Mission staff are safe
and accounted for. USAID and JUSMAG are coordinating with the
Philippine National Disaster Coordination Council and the Philippine
National Red Cross. USAID is preparing a Disaster Declaration cable
for an initial $100,000. We expect further requests for assistance
after the clean-up efforts start. End Summary.

-----------------
TYPHOON MILENYO
-----------------

2. Typhoon "Milenyo" (international name: Xangsane) brought Metro
Manila to a near-standstill with all flights and sea travel in and
out of the region canceled. It also forced officials to suspend
operations of two commuter train systems. Thousands of people have
been stranded and left homeless, at least 18 people have died due to
flashfloods and landslides. Approximately 43 million people have
been affected by power outages. Government offices and schools
remain closed. The airports re-opened in the late afternoon on
September 29, with mostly normal flight operations.

3. Forecasters said Milenyo would likely strengthen back to a
typhoon when it hit the South China Sea. The storm is headed
westward and is expected to reach Vietnam late on September 30.

------------------
MISSION RESPONSE
------------------

4. The embassy closed on September 28 and 29; personnel were
instructed to stay home (see reftel). All Mission staff, plus Peace
Corps volunteers, are safe and accounted for. There are no reports
of injuries, but there have been some instances of power outages and
property damage. Consular has been checking with various wardens
for reports on welfare of American citizens. The Ambassador, DCM,
and management inspected facilities. It appears that the majority
of the damage is repairable - broken windows, some structural
damage, fallen branches, and some flooding. Clean-up efforts are
underway and expected to last through the weekend. The Mission is
working to re-establish forms of communication, alternative housing
for those without refrigeration, water, and phones, and to establish
central services for laundry, recreation and snack bar services.

5. USAID and JUSMAG are in close communication with the Philippine
National Disaster Coordination Council (NDCC). USAID and the
Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) are working on a proposal to
provide immediate relief supplies to affected populations. The
Ambassador is prepared to issue a disaster declaration and Post
plans to send a disaster declaration cable, with an initial request
of $100,000, by the end of the day. JUSMAG has received no specific
requests for assistance as of this time, but anticipates possible
requests for mobility assets to support relief/clean-up efforts.
Kenney

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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